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Mass. medical marijuana dispensaries to offer curbside pickup amid coronavirus outbreak

The cannabis flower is matured under a mixture of warm, high pressure sodium and cool, metal halide lights at Revolution Global's cannabis cultivation center in Delavan, Ill.
The cannabis flower is matured under a mixture of warm, high pressure sodium and cool, metal halide lights at Revolution Global's cannabis cultivation center in Delavan, Ill.Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensaries will temporarily be allowed to offer curbside or at-the-door pickup to patients and caregivers in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Through the program, which went into effect on Saturday, dispensaries are allowed to take preorders and make sales using electronic payment methods over the phone. When the customer arrives at the dispensary, an employee can either bring the purchased items directly to the customers’ car in the store’s parking lot or hand the items to the customer at the front door.

Customers looking to pay in cash will need to go inside the dispensary.

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For curbside pickup that involves a vehicle, anyone in the car has to either be age 21 or older, or be registered as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver with the state. As of March, there are more than 67,700 medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts, according to the state Cannabis Control Commission.

The commission announced the new program Friday through an administrative order signed by executive director Shawn Collins.

“Safe patient access during Massachusetts’ state of emergency requires regulatory responsiveness and intentional protocols aimed at reducing exposure to Coronavirus,” Collins said in a statement. “I am proud the Commission has deployed several system and policy enhancements to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program that both improve the patient experience and maintain compliant operations in the face of unanticipated disruptions to our way of life.”

Dispensaries that choose to participate in the curbside pickup program are required to send the commission an updated facility layout showing the designated curbside sales areas, traffic plans, and signage.

Earlier this month, the commission temporarily changed its medical marijuana patient certification process to allow medical providers to certify new patients using telehealth. The change was an effort from the commission to keep current and prospective patients, many of whom are immunocompromised, safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.